An early Bob Dylan handwritten poetry manuscript
Autograph manuscript, 2 pp recto and verso, 8vo, Hibbing, MN, n.d. , both sides featuring early poems by young Bob Dylan, TOGETHER WITH a silver gelatin print depicting young Dylan and a friend.
Provenance: the collection of Dale Boutang (LOA); sold, Robert Edward Auctions, April 29, 2006.
Exhibition history: Experience Music Project's traveling exhibition, Bob Dylan's American Journey, 1956-1966, 2004-2008 (loan paperwork included).
In the mid-1950s, Bob Dylan (then known as Bob Zimmerman) attended Hibbing High School in Hibbing, Minnesota, where he befriended fellow student and musician Dale Boutang. Around 1956, Dylan wrote the two poems in this lot, one of which mentions Boutang by name, and the document is apparently one of the oldest extant examples of Dylan's creative writing. In the first poem, Dylan describes a smart-mouthed, tough-acting kid named Jimmy, who is going to pay for his bad attitude. Dylan sets down the rebellious tone shown in his groundbreaking adult work in the opening lines: "There is a boy in school / Who don't live by no rule / He hands everyone lots of sass / Thinking no one will kick his ass / He tries to act like Jett Rink / But he really acts like a dink...." ("Jett Rink" is James Dean's character in the 1956 film Giant.) The second poem is a lighthearted fictional account of an arm-wrestling match between Dylan's/Zimmerman's two friends, Dale Boutang and Melvin Raatsi. It reads in part: "Waiting in the house was Raatsi on the bed / 'I'm gonna pin Boutang's arm,' Melvin then said / A noise outside! and Raatsi's face had gleam / Ah ha, it was Dale coming on his machine / Raatsi came to the door and opened it wide / Dale Boutang then stepped inside / 'Roll up that sleeve and let's get to work,' / said Melvin Raatsi with a great big smirk...." Boutang retained this important early example of Dylan's writing for decades. Also included in this lot is an early photograph of a young Dylan on a motorcycle. The Experience Music Project's traveling exhibit, Bob Dylan's American Journey 1956-1966, stopped at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Pierpont Morgan Library (New York), The Weisman Art Museum (Minneapolis), the Smithsonian Institution, and the Grammy Museum.
Manuscript: 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 in; photograph: 2 1/2 x 2 3/4 in